Ecology Field Lab report (Biology)

THIS ASSIGNMENT REQUIRES YOU TO GO OUT AND TAKE PHOTOS TO INCLUDE IN THE LAB REPORT. This is a Lab report on Lichen Pollution. Attached are the instructions for the lab report, the lab report format, and a sample lab report. PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ACCEPTING THE ASSIGNMENT. I PREFER SOMEONE THAT IS IN THE UNITED STATES.


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Lichen Pollution Experiment Tracking Sheet.docx
Name card
Flexible tape measure or paper or string marked in inches at least up to 24 inches (to
wrap around tree)
Thumb tacks, a stapler, or duct tape (to stick measuring tape to tree)
Optional – Assistant to hold things for you
Recall from the fungus module that lichens are a form of symbiosis, called mutualism,
between a fungus and an algae. The algae gives the fungus sugar and the fungus
prevents the algae from drying out. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide pollutants are
easily absorbed through the surface of lichens, where they inhibit reproduction in the
fungus and photosynthesis in the algae.
During your experiment, you will be counting numbers of lichens and also classifying
them as one of three basic types. Crustose lichens (crusty lichens) are very flat and
tightly bound to the bark or rock they grow on. Foliose lichens (leafy lichens) stand
just slightly away from the bark and give the impression of a lettuce leaf laying flat on
the tree. Fruticose lichens (fruity or branching lichens) are very three dimensional and
stick far out from the bark, often looking bushy in nature. See examples below.
Figure 2 – Examples of crustose lichens. Note that the lichen looks a lot like cracked
paint. Images used under Creative Commons 2.0 and public domain.
Figure 3 – Examples of foliose lichens. Note the similarity to lettuce leaves. Images
used under Creative Commons 3.0 and 3.0.
Figure 4 – Examples of fruticose lichens. Note that any lichen with significant “3D”
shape is a fruticose lichen. Images used under Creative Commons 3.0 and public
Tree Lichen Experiment
In this experiment you are interested in how vehicle air pollution affects lichens. You
are testing “air pollution ” as a condition, but you don’t have a “pollutionometer.” A
simple way to get a condition with high, medium, and low pollution levels is amount of
traffic as your independent variable. It is expected that the fewer cars driving in an
area, the less air pollution there is. The state of Georgia measures the annual average
daily traffic (AADT) for roads and have the numbers posted on their website! If you live
in Georgia, go to the following weblink:
Type your home CITY/TOWN in the search box and press SEARCH. When the map
updates you will see round dots (usually blue) with a number next to them. That
number is the annual average daily traffic. The number in parenthesis is the year the
data is from. Not all roads have data but the closer you are to the point, the more
likely the nearby road will have similar traffic.
For your experiment, choose one road with 0-1000 AADT as low traffic. Choose one
“medium traffic” road with 5,000 to 10,000 AADT and one road with 20,000+ (or
higher) AADT. You will need to find a wooded location that is within 200 ft of each
road as your study site. (Be careful to park somewhere safe, respect personal
property, and do not walk on the road if possible!) An example of roads and potential
study sites near the GPC Decatur Campus is here: Decatur campus traffic.jpg (in this
map, grey roads are low, olive green are medium and blue are high AADT.
If you need to use your mouse to move the map around to look for roadswith the
correct AADT. CLICK on the DOT to learn the name of the road you are considering!
If you don’t live in Georgia or cannot finds the appropriate roads near you,
then choose a driveway or building entrance road (low traffic), a 2 lane road (medium
traffic) and a 4 lane road (high traffic) for your study sites.
You will have two different dependent variables; percentage of lichen coverage and
type of lichen coverage. You will need to make a hypothesis for each of these
variables. How will high pollution affect percent coverage of lichens? Will one type of
lichen be more common than another?
Choosing Study Sites and Trees
1. (Identify Control Variables) Pick three study sites with high, medium, and
low vehicle traffic (pollution) as outlined above. These study sites all need to have
plenty of “wild” trees. (Planted landscaping tends to be only one tree species and will
bias your results.)
2. At each study site, go to the center of a clump of trees (or at least 20 feet
in). Close your eyes, spin around a couple of times, and point. The tree or rock you
are pointing at is your Center Point.
3. Survey the lichens on the FIVE trees closest to your Center Point (which can
include your Center Point if it is a tree). Skip any pine trees or trees less than 18 inches
4. (Hypothesis)
What will happen to the number and type of lichens you find in an area based on
pollution levels?
Surveying a Tree
1. Wrap your measuring tape (or marked paper or string) around the tree at eye
level. Pin, tape, or staple it to the tree. If the tape doesn’t go all the way around, that
is fine. (Remember to skip pine trees and any trees smaller than 18 inches).
2. (Identify Dependent Variables)
Record the circumference of the tree (inches around). With the tape measure still on
the tree, record the number of inches that are covered in lichen along the tape. In
order to be “covered,” the inch must have no clearly visible bark and be touching the
tape. Finally, record the type or types of lichen in each “covered” inch. See above for
examples of crustose, foliose, and fruticose lichens.
For example, if there is a lichen that starts at inch 2 and ends at inch 4, you would
write down 2 inches and the type of lichen (crustose, foliose or fruticose). A second
lichen may start at inch 6.5 and go to inch 10. This is a 3.5 inch lichen. Do this until you
get all the way around the tree at chest height. Ignore any lichens that do not touch
the tape measure!
3. Take a picture of one tree from each site with the measuring tape wrapped
around it and tagged with a card containing your name AND whether the site is Low,
Medium, or High pollution.. Insert these pictures into your lab report in the Results
section. (Three total photographs in the report.)
4. After surveying all five trees in an area, add up the numbers from each tree. This
means you will add up the total circumference of all the trees for the study area, add
the total inches covered in lichen for the study area, and a separate total number of
inches covered for each kind of lichen for the study area.
5. Determine the overall percent lichen coverage at each of your three sites. Use
the following equation:
% Coverage = 100 x (# of inches covered in lichen)/(# of inches tree
Ex. If you have 120 total inches of trees and 40 inches are covered in lichen, you
100 * 40 / 120 = 33% lichen coverage for Site 1
6. Determine the percent coverage by each kind of lichen at each of your three
sites. Use the following equation:
% Coverage = 100 x (# of inches covered in crustose/foliose/fruticose
lichen)/(# of inches tree circumference)
Ex. If you have 120 total inches of trees and 8 inches are covered in crustose
lichen, you have
100 * 8 / 120 = 6.7% crustose lichen coverage for Site 1
7. Use your results to draw conclusions about each hypothesis.
You will write a lab report for this experiment. The lab report instructions are contained
within this module. Check the Class Schedule or Calendar for the due date for the lab
Specific Instructions
You must have three pictures of measured trees, one from each study site and labeled
as being from the low, high or medium pollution site and include your name. In
addition, your report should include a data table for the data you collected at each
site and the totals for each site. Include a data table or graphs showing the percentage
coverage by lichens at the low, high and medium sites and the percentage of each
lichen type in each site.
Lab Report Format
All lab reports will be submitted through a DropBox and will be checked for plagiarism
by Use the headings below in your lab report. Each report only has one
of each section; combine all experiments into each section. Don’t make a separate
Procedure or Results section for each experiment. See the Sample Lab Report at the
bottom of the page for an example.
In the purpose section, state which principles you will be testing how you will test each
Good Example – “I will be testing different foods to determine if they contain
carbohydrates and lipids using chemical testing agents.”
Bad Example – “I will be testing things to see what they are made out of.”
Do not list what you used. Explain what you did and name the key equipment or
chemicals you used in paragraph form. Be sure to list where and when the experiment
took place. Your description should be complete enough to allow another person
to repeat the experiment exactly based on what your wrote.
Identify the independent, dependent, and control variables in the experiment.
Do not include data in this section.
Good Example – “Iodine was added to peas, corn, and carrots to see which of them
contained complex carbohydrates.”
Bad Example – “I put different chemicals on each food to see what they were made of.”
The hypothesis must state the expected outcome of each experiment. Remember your
hypothesis is what you expect to happen to the dependent variable. You may have
more than one hypothesis if you ran more than one experiment. In this example
experiment, you are testing different foods (independent variable) for carbohydrates
by observing which turn black (dependent variable) using iodine. Testing for lipids
using Sudan IV would need a different hypothesis!
Good Example – “Iodine will turn the onion, potato, and vegetable oil black.”
Bad Example – “Potatoes have complex carbohydrates in them.”
You must have paragraphs describing the data in your tables and graphs. Each table or
graph should have a unique descriptive title. Such as: Table 1: List of foods tested,
chemicals used and color change response. In addition, you must write up all of your
results in words. For example: “As seen in Table 1, the starch and sugar water both
turned black in the iodine test.”
Include at least one picture of the experiment in this section. The picture should have
a card showing your name included in the picture. There should be a MAXIMUM of 2
pictures in any lab report.
Restate your hypothesis and determine whether it was supported or rejected by the
data you collected.
If your hypothesis was supported, is this information novel or did science already know
this? Discuss, what is known about the topic. Be sure to use references if you are
stating facts that are not common knowledge. Start with your textbook and then try
Google to see what you can find. You MUST have at least two citations and references
in your lab report!
If your hypothesis was incorrect, explain what you were thinking when you made the
hypothesis and what you know now.
If you had trouble with your experiment or got unexpected results, identify any likely
sources of error.
Think of at least one extra experiment you could do or type of data you could gather to
improve the experiment further. This is not just “I’ll take more time to do it.” You have
to think of something different to do in the experiment.
Sample Lab Report: Caffeine’s Effect on Heart Rate
Introduction/ Purpose:
Millions of Americans consume large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis. Some
of these “caffeine addicts” suffer from cardio-vascular disease for which prolonged
increases in heart rates may be dangerous. The purpose of this lab was to determine the
effect of caffeine on heart rate. Caffeine is a known stimulant (Nehrig et al. 1992). The
effects of other known stimulants are increases in metabolism, breathing, and heart rate
(Iancu et al. 2007).
The introduction states a purpose for the investigation; it answers the question – why are
we doing this? The introduction also provides enough background information about the
experiment so that a reader can place it into context of the big picture.
If multiple test subjects consume equal amounts of coffee, some regular and some
decaffeinated, then those subjects consuming the regular coffee will see a greater increase
in measured heart rate than those consuming the decaf.
The hypothesis states an educated guess on the outcomes of the experiment. It includes
both an independent (what you change) and a dependent variable (what you measure).
Prior to both testing sessions, the test subjects were instructed to fast for 12 hours
prior to the test. At the beginning of the session test subjects were asked to drink two
cups (16 oz) of Kaladi’s brand coffee. The control subjects drank the same brand but
Heart rate was recorded with a “polar accurex II” heart rate monitor. Test
subjects heart rate was taken every 10 minutes with the reported rate being an average.
The methods section describes exactly how the experiment was conducted. It describes
the tools used (materials) as well as the steps that were followed (procedure). It’s
important that they are clear enough that someone could repeat their experiment.
Results: The results section is where you write and show in tables and graphs what
happened in the experiment. What is the outcome of the experiment? Don’t interpret the
results – that is saved for the conclusion.
Table. 1
Average Heart rates for Test Subjects
Decaf (control)
Regular Coffee
0 min
10 min
20 min
30 min
40 min
50 min
60 min
The average heart rates increased for both the caffeinated and non-caffeinated study
groups from time 0 to 50 minutes after drinking. However, the regular coffee drinkers’
average heart rate ranged from 50-66 while the decaf drinkers ranged from 42-50 beats
per minute.
In the results section you must include a graph of your data and a verbal (written)
interpretation to label the graph. Always make sure to label your x and y-axis and
include titles for your Coffee
and graphs.
a 50
e 40
e 30
Decaf (control)
Regular Coffee
0 min
10 min
20 min
30 min
40 min 50 min
60 min
As hypothesized, we observed an increase in resting heart rate in the group who
drank caffeinated coffee. However, we also saw a rise in heart rate in the control group.
It is possible that this is due to a general increase in resting heart rate that occurs during
the day. It seems more likely that the decaffeinated coffee used in the experiment still
contained smaller but still significant amounts of caffeine.
Although much care was taken to eliminate any possible error or bias, the trials
could be affected by the wake cycle of the test subjects. Care should also be taken to
insure similar resting/sleep patterns prior to testing. If the subject slept for only 4 hours
compared to 10 for example, the data could be skewed.
Care should be made to keep the two groups as similar as possible exempting the
independent variable (caffeine). For example, did the subject follow the same
transportation pattern for each trial? Problems could arise if the subject drove to the
testing facility one morning and rode a bicycle the second time. For greater validity more
subjects should be used, with a variety of gender, age, and fitness.
In previous research, Wilmore & Costill (1995) revealed that caffeine induced heart rates
peak 1.5 hours after ingestion. Further experiments should take that into consideration
and monitor heart rates longer.
The conclusion should first and foremost explain whether your hypothesis was true or
false. It also explains the results. Why did you get what you go? Finally, the conclusion
also suggests ways to improve the experiment.
Iancu I, Olmer A, and RD Strous. 2007. Caffeinism: History, clinical features, diagnosis,
and treatment. In Smith BD, Gupta U, Gupta BS (eds). Caffeine and activation theory:
effects on health and behavior. CRC Press. pp. 331–344.
Nehlig, A; Daval, JL; and G. Debry. 1992. Caffeine and the central nervous system:
mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain
Research Reviews 17 (2): 139–70.
Wilmore D. and J. Costill. 1995. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics
Publishers. New York.

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